Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

'De la música un cuaderno pedís': Musical Notation in Sor Juana's Works

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2006), 83, (6), 497–507.

Abstract

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (d. 1695, Mexico City), lived, wrote, studied and composed during a period in which intense experimentation was underway in the practical aspects of music, concerning harmonics, notation, composition, instrumentation, as well as the burgeoning of the operatic form. Lorente, Mersenne, Ronsard, Galilei, Zarlino, Cerone and Kircher each had sought to codify the system with which musical notes were represented, and Sor Juana contended with several issues relating to musical notational practice. She composed a treatise she called El caracol, seeking to simplify the baffling notational system as it existed in her time. In this paper I explain the notational issues that she addressed in all her works, and place them within their historical and musical context.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (m. 1695, México) vivió, escribió, estudió y compuso música durante una época de intensa experimentación en los aspectos prácticos de la música, sobre todo en lo relativo a armónica, notación, composición e instrumentación, además del desarrollo de la ópera. Lorente, Mersenne, Ronsard, Galilei, Zarlino, Cerone y Kircher habían intentado codificar el sistema de la representación de las notas musicales, y Sor Juana versó sobre muchos aspectos relativos a la práctica de la notación musical. Compuso un tratado titulado El caracol, en el cual procura simplificar el sistema de la escritura musical como se practicaba en la época. En este ensayo, explico los asuntos que plantea Sor Juana en sus obras, y lo sitúo en su contexto histórico y musical.

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Long, Pamela